SoundHound Partners with Mastercard to Voice-Enable Fast-Food Orders

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SoundHound, a provider of voice artificial intelligence and conversational intelligence technologies, is partnering with Mastercard to develop voice-enabled drive through solutions for quick service restaurants (QSRs).

Mastercard is looking to transform drive-through and drive-in interactions through vehicle recognition, voice ordering, and artificial intelligence.

The partnership will leverage Houndify's Speech-to-Meaning and Deep Meaning Understanding technologies. Houndify's advanced voice AI technologies will enable systems to understand complex orders, substitutions, and special requests. QSR patrons can order what they want with natural voice queries and confirm the accuracy of their orders. Houndify's conversational intelligence maintains context without requiring the user to repeat previous inputs.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Mastercard as part of their retail initiatives to deliver this timely innovation for retail brands and the end consumer," said Amir Arbabi, vice president of business development at SoundHound, in a statement. "Consumers today believe voice ordering makes their experiences more convenient and less stressful, and we look forward to helping Mastercard deliver frictionless service, convenience, and customer safety."

This partnership is part of Mastercard's new suite of solutions for retailers. Mastercard's Shop Anywhere and AI Powered Drive Through solutions reduce friction within the ordering process by removing the need to wait for an employee to take an order, enabling staff to focus on order throughput.

Mastercard is deploying these new solutions with leading retailers, sports, entertainment, and hospitality partners, including Circle K, Delaware North, Dunkin', and White Castle. The AI Powered Drive Through technology will begin pilots at White Castle locations in October and will be rolling out to other quick-service restaurants later in the year.

"At White Castle, as a nearly 100-year-old family business guided by having a heart for hospitality, bringing technological empowerment to the drive-thru is the next chapter in innovation for our industry," said Susan Carroll-Boser, vice president of technology at White Castle, in a statement. "We're honored to partner with Mastercard on this important initiative, and eager for our customers to enjoy the benefits it will provide."

"As retailers and consumers navigate through one of the most disruptive periods in modern history, it's clear that traditional business operations will need to evolve quickly," said Stephane Wyper, senior vice president of retail innovation at Mastercard, in a statement. "We're committed to supporting our retail partners and are excited about our partnership with SoundHound to voice-enable a broad range of services to enhance the physical shopping experience."

Last year, Sonic Drive-In prototyped an AI-powered voice assistant and personalized dynamic menu with Mastercard.

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